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EU lawmakers clinch deal on power market reform with concessions for coal
EU lawmakers early on Wednesday agreed on reforms to the bloc’s power market that will end coal subsidies from 2025, paving the way for a full phase-out of the fuel.
UK says won’t auction any EUAs in Q1 2019, regardless of Brexit outcome
The UK government has confirmed that it will not hold any EUA auctions in Q1 2019, regardless of the outcome of Brexit negotiations.
EU Market: EUAs resume climb, hitting new 3-mth high but failing to top €25
European carbon prices resumed their upward climb on Wednesday, hitting a new three-month high but failing to breach €25 after numerous attempts.
Australia’s ruling Coalition dismisses internal push to put emissions back in energy plan
Australia’s federal government on Wednesday dismissed a push from the New South Wales state energy minister to put a carbon emissions obligation back into the national energy strategy.
Brokers recommend NZ emitters pay fixed CO2 price, bank allowances
Emitters in the New Zealand ETS should pay the fixed price option for 2018 instead of surrendering permits, brokers OM Financial said Wednesday, in a recommendation that could keep up to 34 million NZUs in the system next year.
Revoked project to put further strain on supply-choked Australian offset market
A recently revoked Australian energy efficiency project could add annual demand of upwards of 500,000 tCO2e to meet its contractual obligations to the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), stretching the country’s small secondary offset market to the limits of its capacity and likely pushing up prices in the process.
Shanghai releases ETS allocation plan for 2018
The Shanghai municipal government released the 2018 allocation plan for its emissions trading scheme, slightly adjusting upwards the programme’s CO2 cap but keeping the system largely unchanged ahead of the national cap-and-trade launch.
California, Quebec set to auction 42.6 mln carbon allowances at 2019 sales
California and Quebec will auction off an estimated 42.6 million allowances at each of 2019’s cap-and-trade auctions, with consignment and unsold volume increasing the total amount offered at the quarterly sales, state data shows.
US senators introduce bipartisan $15/tonne carbon tax bill
Two US senators introduced bipartisan legislation on Wednesday that would implement a carbon fee-and-dividend programme, mirroring a bill introduced by lawmakers in the House in November.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Fix it up – Chevron and Equinor have become the latest targets of activist investors hoping to force some of the world’s biggest oil companies to commit to fixed emissions targets that align with the Paris Agreement. Investor groups Follow This, As You Sow, and Arjuna Capital have helped lead a wave of climate-related proxy resolutions planned for spring 2019 annual shareholder meetings, of which US-based Chevron and Norway-based Equinor are now facing. The investors’ actions follow similar moves on BP, Royal Dutch Shell, and Total. (Reuters)
Don’t assume – Ireland’s Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, Richard Bruton has said that the Department of Public Expenditure is assuming a carbon tax of €100 per tonne by 2030 in the model it uses for shaping future economic policy, RTE reports. This is higher than the €80 per tonne suggested by the government’s Climate Change Advisory Council. It is also five times higher than the tax of €20 per tonne of carbon that applies today. Ireland applies a domestic carbon tax as a percentage levy on motor and heating fuels, as well as other carbon-intensive goods and energy products. The government had said that it would announce a trajectory for increases in the tax out as far as 2030 ahead of the Budget last October, but it failed to do so. Ireland is well off track towards meeting its various emission reduction targets.
Project X – Alphabet’s secretive X moonshot lab is spinning off an energy-storage project with backing from billionaires including Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, according to Bloomberg. Malta Inc., the newly independent company, raised $26 million led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a fund that counts Bezos, Masayoshi Son and Ray Dalio among its investors. Michael Bloomberg is also a Breakthrough investor and Gates is chairman. Other Malta backers include Hong Kong-based Concord New Energy Group (a wind and solar power developer), and Alfa Laval (a Swedish industrial company), X said on Wednesday. The money will help Malta further develop a system that uses large vats of molten salt and cooler liquid to store electricity generated from variable sources such as solar and wind. The start-up likely will need additional funds to build a full facility, according to CEO Ramya Swaminathan.
Loan snark – The Canadian federal government promised Alberta C$1.6 billion on Tuesday – most of it in loans – to support the province’s energy sector. C$1 bln of that total will come from the country’s national credit export agency to help oil and gas exporters invest in new technologies and diversify their markets, along with C$500 million from a Crown corporation to help smaller companies increase operational and environmental efficiency. However, numerous parties found issue with the move, as green group Environmental Defence said in a statement that the federal government “must stop propping up an industry whose continued growth is inconsistent with a safe climate”. On the other hand, poll-leading United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney called Ottawa’s move “too little, too late”. (CBC)
Zero – New Zealand has become the 15th signatory to the Birmingham Declaration on Zero Emissions Vehicles, its climate change minister James Shaw announced. Shaw swung by the UK on his way home from the UN climate talks in Poland and endorsed the declaration, which commits signatories to accelerating the transition to low-emissions vehicles, enabling the growth of the low-emissions vehicle market, and supporting the development of new zero-emissions technologies. The UK, Indonesia, and Denmark are among the previous signatories.
They might be giants – A Montana facility of oil major ExxonMobil received a hardship waiver from the US EPA earlier this year for its Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) compliance obligation, Reuters reports. That would make the multinational giant the largest known company to have received a small refinery exemption (SRE) for the national biofuels programme, with Exxon reporting $20 billion in profits last year. Three sources told Reuters that Exxon’s 60,000 barrels/day facility in Billings, Montana was given an SRE for the 2017 compliance year. Just last month Chevron was reported to have become the largest known company to receive an SRE under the RFS.
Forest force – Officials from British Columbia, Washington, and California signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Tuesday to share information and work jointly to improve forest resilience and better understand how forests are responding to climate change. The MOU builds on initial steps taken by the two US jurisdictions at the Global Climate Action Summit in September, and sets out a key goal of expanding the market for forest products and promoting investments in natural and working lands that increase carbon sequestration and enhance forest resilience.
Acquisition – German energy bourse EEX has acquired Grexel Systems, the leading provider of energy certificate registries in Europe. Grexel offers comprehensive services for operators of registries, i.e. for guarantees of origin, and holds a market share of 42% of new certificates issued within the European Energy Certification Scheme (EECS). The company currently operates 15 energy certificate registries in Europe, of which 10 are for electricity guarantees of origin, four for biomethane and one for hydrogen certificates. Over 10,000 account holders, including major energy producers and end users, use Grexel System’s registries.
And finally… Two steps back – US Senator John Barrasso (R) penned an op-ed in The New York Times on Tuesday calling for action to address climate change through avenues like carbon capture and utilisation technologies. Yet Barrasso, representing coal-heavy Wyoming, still didn’t acknowledge the consensus that human activity is the main driver of climate change. “Certainly human activity is contributory but I can’t tell you what percentage,” he told Politico. “No one can.” The senator’s Republican Policy Committee last week also published a report bashing progressive Democrats’ push for a “Green New Deal”, calling it unrealistic.
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